As one of the leads in the Arrowhead Robotics Coalition here in NE Minnesota I’ve been looking into ways to encourage more people to mentor teams. I was excited to see this new Mentor Network database thing and had hoped to publicize it on social media in the region. Unfortunately I don’t think it’s going to work for what I’d envisioned.
In order to use the FIRST Mentor Network as a potential mentor
- You have to create a profile on firstinspires.org (which isn’t designed for someone who’s not affiliated with an existing FIRST program)
- Then You have to pass YPP screening (which can take up to 5 business days) and swear you went through the YPP material.
- Once steps 1 and 2 are complete you have to create a second profile on the Mentor Network site.
That’s a lot of hoops to jump through for someone who’d interested in mentoring and is exploring options. My YPP had expired, so I actually did spend a day going through all the training materials and had to wait a day for the background check to complete.
I finally do have a profile though! I looked for teams and it doesn’t appear that any FLL, FTC, or FRC teams in Minnesota (or northwest Wisconsin) have submitted a profile looking for mentors yet. I’d hate to be someone who was directed to the mentor network by some goofball on social media only to finally jump the final hurdle to find the reward was nothing. This is a bit of a chicken or egg thing, so if you’re lead mentor 1 or 2 on your team and you don’t have a profile in that system, make one ASAP!
I’ll send in my experience with the system along with comments and suggestions to FIRST on Monday. Meanwhile, I think I’ll go back to plan A here which is for ARC to actively solicit potential mentors on social media and direct any serious inquiries to the teams local to the candidate.
I am interested in thoughts from teams and mentors. From teams, what kind of successful outreach have you done in the past that’s generated new mentors. For mentors, what brought you to FIRST? Does anyone know of successful mentor outreach programs that I can look at to steal ideas from?